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Review: The Pools at Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort



By Dave Shute

For the first page of this review of Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort, see this.

THE POOLS AT PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

Disney’s Port Orleans Riverside Resort has 6 pools–a large themed main pool on “Ol’ Man Island,” and five smaller ones scattered around Magnolia Bend and Alligator Bayou.

THE MAIN POOL AT PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

Main Pool Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The main pool at Port Orleans Riverside (along with that at its sister resort Port Orleans French Quarter) is middle-of-the pack among the moderates, with the main pools at both Caribbean Beach and Coronado Springs much better, and that at Fort Wilderness much worse.

Sawmill Flume Main Pool Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The main pool is themed to an old lumber mill, with the theme mostly presented through flumes dropping water (above) and a water slide themed as a flume (below).

Slide Main Pool Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Main Pool Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

Another view of the flume theming.

Main Pool at Night Port Orleans Riverside from yourfirstvisit.net

The main pool at night.

Like those at the other moderates, the pool is too small for the number of people who want to use it. (Hence the five other pools.) It also has more shade than is common–those seeking a main pool with more sun are welcome to use the one at Port Orleans French Quarter.

It has this kids pool, without the theming, sprays, or splash play you’ll find  at Port Orleans French Quarter, Caribbean Beach or Fort Wilderness…

There’s room here for a more sophisticated kids water play area–see the circled area in the image. Since sister resort Port Orleans French Quarter got a terrific version of such a play area in 2016, I’d guess we’ll see one at Riverside soon.

Hot Tub Main Pool Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Port Orleans Riverside also has a hot tub. Note the hammocks!

Bar Main Pool Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

The pool bar is typical of the moderates, though the lumber mill theming eliminates its chance for grace. Like most– but not those at Coronado Springs or Fort Wilderness–there’s no real food here.

There are some interesting lighting effects at night here.

Some more shots of the main pool:

THE QUIET POOLS AT PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

Like the other moderates except French Quarter, the sprawl of Riverside means many rooms are a hike from the main themed pool.

Five smaller pools are thus scattered around the resort to provide nearer access and, in general, more pool capacity. The traditional lingo for these has been “quiet pools.”

Two pools (near-identical so far as I can tell) serve the 1000+ rooms in Magnolia Bend, and three smaller pools (that are similar to each other but not quite identical) serve the 1000+ rooms in Alligator Bayou.

Towels are available at each, usually inside the laundry room.

South Pool Magnolia Bend Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

South Pool Magnolia Bend Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

One Magnolia Bend pool (photos above) is between the two Royal Room buildings, 90/Oak Manor and 95/Parterre Place.

Another very similar pool is between the two other Magnolia Bend accommodations buildings, 80/Acadian House and 85/Magnolia Terrace. (Photos below.)

North Pool Magnolia Bend Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (3)

North Pool Magnolia Bend Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (4)

There are three pools in the Alligator Bayou section–three because one of the least-known features of the overall theming of Port Orleans Riverside is that the accommodations buildings of Alligator Bayou are meant to be perceived as being in three groups.

(I learned this from portorleans.org, a great fan site covering both Riverside and French Quarter.)

Map Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort

See the map for the three different colors it shows for Alligator Bayou–grey, blue, and purple, going counterclockwise from Magnolia Bend.

The idea is that as settlers penetrated the backwoods of the Sassagoula basin, it became harder and harder to ship or afford the comforts of civilization.

Alligator Bayou Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

So the buildings of Alligator Bayou closest to Magnolia Bend (gray on the map) have fancy citified brick columns and tin roofs (not shown)…

for crop (800x530)

…while those more distant from Magnolia Bend have more humble and simple construction.

This is all too subtle to have ever worked, but the three slightly different themed areas is why there are three quiet pools back here–one for each area.

Each is similar to the rest, and each is both much more curvy than the Magnolia Bend pools and more verdant and shaded (like a forest pond, as opposed to a formal fountain).

North Pool Alligator Bayou Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net


Above is the Alligator Bayou pool closest to Magnolia Bend, serving the grey buildings.

Northwest Pool Alligator Bayou Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net

Here’s the middle pool, serving the blue buildings

West Pool Alligator Bayou Disney's Port Orleans Riverside Resort from yourfirstvisit.net (2)

And here’s the far pool, serving the buildings purple on the map. Far from Magnolia end, that is: these purple buildings are very close to the resort’s central services area.

All of these pools are open to any Port Orleans guest–as is the main pool and great kids play area at Port Orleans French Quarter.

Aim for the main pool for the theming and the bar, or a nearby quiet pool if the main pool is too far or full.  The Alligator Bayous pools have more shade and a laid-back feel; the Magnolia Bend pools more sun, more grace, and more formality.

THE HISTORY OF DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE

See Jim Korkis on the history of this resort here.

TOPICS IN THIS REVIEW OF DISNEY’S PORT ORLEANS RIVERSIDE RESORT

OTHER KEY PAGES FOR WHERE TO STAY AT DISNEY WORLD

 

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